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Old 20-06-2009, 09:51   #46
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Kinda old, but...

I didn't see any mention of running off, which is yet another storm tactic where there is sea room to do so.

There may very well be occasions where lying a'hull would work. I know the Hiscocks used the technique as well as dozens of others very respected cruisers. It may even be a tactic to be used to get some rest. I've never tried it, even to practice, so I don't know if it suits my modified full-keel design.

Most of the boats I've heard of using this technique were particularly large displacement - most of them well over 10 tons. I wonder if the sheer inertia of these hulls has some element to the usefulness as a technique.

The only times I've been in a survival-type storm was aboard a 400' ship; very different from the small gales I've managed by just reducing sail aboard my little sailboat. The reason I've not gained that kind of experience, I hope, is in part due to avoiding the possibility of bad weather. Not always possible, I know, but I think the most important storm tactic is avoidance.



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Old 20-06-2009, 16:34   #47
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I have read with interest the different techniques cited here; with regards to heavy weather management. Avoidance is always preferred in my book. Most of my time has been spent on larger vessels than the 25' to 35' range vessel that seems to be the predominate vessel size in this forum. I second the school of thought that each vessel has it's own best tactics, only the people aboard the vessel at the time can best decide what they should do, and if they survive the blow, then the tactics were effective, if they didn't then they probably should have done something else. If one knows that they are going to hit heavy weather ahead of time, it is best to prepare early before it hits, it is far easier to lash things down in the quiet before the storm. As general tactics go, lying ahull is something that I have not experienced unless the vessel lost power. My general instinct is to head into the wind & seas at bare steerage and keep to the safe side of the semi circle. I have run before a storm under sail, with 45 knots of wind and made great time for a mono hull with a deep keel, we surfed off the waves and made up to 12 knots with a vessel that had a hull speed of 9. It was a hand full to keep her from broaching, and if we would have had any sense at the time we would have shortened sail and moderated our speed. Fortunately the boat was better than the sailors on her at the time. I am not a big fan of running with a following sea in a storm. I prefer deeper water, the deeper the better, the swells are farther apart and in most cases don't run as steep. I have endured 45 knot blows in the gulf of Mexico that were more tiring than 60 knots of wind out in the Atlantic or Pacific, purely because of the wave period and the tendency of the waves breaking in the G.O.M.. If it is available a nice high headland to hide behind with a good anchorage is the preferred spot. I think that sea anchors & warps have their place as well, I would not use them to put my stern to the seas. Most vessels are stronger than the people riding on them, and if you can find a way to tie yourself in or brace yourself somehow, you will come out the other side. Personally I like to put a couple of rolled up pillows or life jackets under the mattress on the leading edge to keep me in the bunk, or throw every thing on the sole and sleep against something solid. On watch, I put my feet up to brace myself and watch out for the odd rogue wave. The toughest one I have ever ridden out was in excess of 135 kts, that was what the anemometer read before it spun off into the night, that was in the Bering sea and I was on a 180' vessel at the time and all we could do was idle into it and get tired. I have seen videos of a commercial fishing boat running before a storm in 15' to 20' seas when they lost power and as the vessel lost power, the first wave pushed the stern up and she started to broach, and the second wave roller her over, it happened so fast that if you blinked it was over.

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